Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Keep Trying to Keep Up

The reasoning behind the title is this: I keep pushing to stay ahead of the curve. Not THEE Curve, but one of my own design. I try to paint five nights per week. I try to keep up with my blog. I try to keep up with my housework, kids, etc, etc, etc. Some nights (like last night) you try to play Catch-Up and just wind up falling asleep on the couch with your laptop open, half a blog written in gibberish, and the DVD you were watching spinning quietly away having returned to its main menu. In the interest of giving myself a break... it was a busy day. There's a point in a every very busy day where your efforts to keep up begin delivering ever-diminishing returns. At that point it's best to listen to your body and get some rest. Frankly I don't like it. I always feel like there's so much more I could be doing if only I didn't need to sleep...

Perhaps it's because of the little pangs of guilt I get from not staying abreast of all the things I think I should be doing. So in the continued interest of giving myself a break I'll celebrate a little success. I managed to finish my latest commissioned piece. I'm calling it "Capital in Crimson". It was commissioned to be a mate to "Untitled in Red and Gold". Not as snazzy as it's sibling's title, but then again I never was much for names. I have managed to keep up with my mini-paintings and charcoal. I've also started a new piece (not pictured). Keeping with my goal of bringing the characters in my work more into the forefront a large figure dominates the space. I've got an idea in my head of where I want to go and this new one isn't quite there. It feels kind of like I'm taking baby steps. That's OK though. I'm in no hurry and my goal isn't and end... just a mile-marker.

To wrap up I'd like to say a quick Thank You to the Ankeny Art Center, Brent Houzenga, and all of the other artists in the group show I had the honor of being included with called, Diversify Your Bonds last Friday. The reception was very well attended and the wide variety of Art on display was very refreshing. As always the photography of my friend, Jason Scott Hoffman, and the painting by Jeff Bonker were among the stand-outs. If you haven't seen their work... You should.

Until next time...



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Been Thinking...

As the title may suggest I've been doing some thinking lately. I think about my work and how it relates to me. About how it relates to other Art and Artists. About how, if at all, it's relevant.

I think it's healthy for a person to question themselves. If I do it every now and then it means I'm still sane more or less. It also means I still care about what I'm doing. I spend a fair amount of time looking at other Artists' work and reading about their processes and personal struggles, etc. It grounds me and presents me with other ways of looking at things. Lately that's translated into looking at my own work differently. This Summer has been key I think in helping to direct me towards where I want to go. I think there needs to be a bit of a change in the way I do things. Not just in respect to my work. I'm needing to take a more proactive approach to my career and prepare to let go of some of the safe life I've been leading. I'm sure there are a lot of people who would say the same. And many more who would say that it's a bad idea because of... whatever. There are always heaping piles of reason you shouldn't do something, but there only needs to be one reason why you should. Of course now that I've gone and said that in a pseudo-public forum it means I have to own up to it.

For me I think that means two things: 1) I need to start expanding and diversifying my studio time. Working towards that I've started including some time each night to work on something small like a charcoal (see the last posting) or, like last night, a small one-session painting. I'm thinking the figures are going to become more prominent. I'll go on about why more at some time in the future. 2) I need to start submitting my work. I've been very fortunate in the realm of exposure this year, but to be honest I haven't submitted work to a gallery in at least a year. I could say a hundred things about being busy, blah blah blah, but excuses are really just that in the end and you gain nothing by them.
I'll hang it up for now and leave you with a pic of my little single-serving painting. I wouldn't say it's good, but it's a start. Plus I only worked on it for 15 minutes... give me a break.



Friday, August 14, 2009

Charcoal Changeup

So I busted out the charcoals again. I love my charcoals almost as much as I love my Sharpies and I need to bring them out more often. I feel like they help me to get back to basics. Their simple nature belies their versatility. You can create all sorts of values and textures.. lighting effects. There's really no end to what you can accomplish with them. Plus their simple, monochromatic nature forces you to think in the most basic terms of light vs dark. The eternal push and pull.

So.. i busted them out to give myself a little mental refresher. I've been painting a lot lately. Working on the same projects. I've got three in the works and they're all of Des Moines. I needed to start incorporating some variation to my studio sessions for fear I was going to get burnt out on painting. I started with some quick studies to loosen up. We used to do that sort of thing at the beginning of every drawing class I took at UNI. We'd begin every studio class with 10-15 minutes of "gesture drawings". That means we'd get volunteers from the class to pose and we'd do several 1-2 minute drawings to loosen up. Like stretching your muscles before a workout. I haven't quite gone back into doing that, but I did grab some photos I've been considering and drew up some 15minute sketches. Not only is this a good exercise to get you relaxed and in the right frame of mind, but it's a good way to play with variations of composition, texture, and line in a non-committal sort of way.

I made the decision to start working with my charcoals again for another reason. While working on GuideOne Interactive Mural project I'd been doing a lot of sketches and studies. I also produced a number of very nice-looking charcoal pieces. Also I've been talking with my friend, Brent Houzenga who's been making a foray into working in ballpoint pen (another personal favorite drawing tool). It inspired me to start creating more and adding them to my inventory of sale-able works. I love the way a good charcoal piece looks when it's framed up nicely They're so simple and direct. Plus I can create a finished piece in hours instead of weeks. The immediacy is cathartic. Not to mention it gives me more work to offer in the long run.

Until next time



Friday, August 7, 2009

Checking In

Because I can be a little slow on the uptake it dawned on me that it'd been over a week since I posted last. I'm relatively sure that life as we know it will continue on should I be a little remiss in my writing, but from the standpoint of someone who's trying to maintain some semblance of personal discipline it means I'm slackin'.

I have been keeping up on my painting at least. I'm working on this commissioned portrait of Des Moines with a primary focus on the state capital building. It's coming along nicely. I'm working on making it go with another piece of mine they purchased without making it look like they're necessarily a matched pair. In short both pieces should stand equally well on their own. I've been spending time trying to match hues to a certain extent. The balance of the composition had to be complimentary without being a mirror image. The perspectives and scales similar, but not identical. It's involved a lot of shifting things around. There will be more. I need to keep it loose to match the other stylistically so I'm setting a due date. I think two weeks from today is more than fair. I'm hoping to have it finished before then.

Now for something completely different:

1) Got a great phonecall last week. A gentleman called me asking about purchasing two of the paintings hanging at B&N. Got the pieces back from the scanner today and will deliver them this weekend. Yay!

2) Aforementioned "scanner" informed me today that not only can they do giclee prints (that's ok because Chrissy over at ArtDive does those for me), but they do canvas prints as well. I've had some inquiries about those recently and it's tres cool to find someone here in town that can do them. I've seen some sample prints and they look fantastic. That simplifies things quite a bit and reduces my costs which allows me to take the price down. Christmas IS just around the corner ya know.
Just aaaaah-throwin' that out there.

Until next time (less than a week from now)